EJA Chairman awards President of Montenegro with award in front of EU ambassadors, MEPs and senior Jewish Representatives

March 7, 2019

AS DEEP DARKNESS OF ANTISEMITISM SPREADS ACROSS EU – MONTENEGRIN MODEL IS BADLY NEEDED, EU JEWISH CHIEF TELLS PRESIDENT
Brussels 7 March 2019. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, presenting The President of Montenegro Mr Milo Dukanovic with the European King David Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in supporting and protecting Jews in Montenegro, said his leadership stands in isolation as “the deep darkness of antisemitism spreads across the continent.”
The President met with with Senior representatives of European Jewry, including the chief Rabbi of the Netherlands, the president of the Belgian League against antisemitism, and the Secretary General of B’nei Brith Europe, amongst others, who reported on the rising levels of antisemitism and hate crimes in their countries.
In stark contrast, the President of the Montenegrin Jewish Community Mr Dorde Raicewic and Rabbi Ari Edelkopf, the Rabbi of Montenegro spoke about how Jews are welcomed, how there is no security needed at Jewish buildings and that it is safe to walk the streets.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the Chairman of the EJA, prior to presenting the award, said as part of his speech,
“Montenegro may be a relatively small country, but even a small light can burn darkness away.
The deep darkness of antisemitism is spreading across Europe. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and many others, the oldest hatred is finding its voice again in dark corners and spreading like a malignant virus.
Time and time again we hear European leaders saying enough is enough, but little changes and the darkness keeps spreading.
These countries must embrace and enshrine not only the Montenegrin Model of co-existence, but welcome the country into the European Union where it can provide a leading and immensely valuable role in fighting the scourge of antisemitism. It is deeply ironic that Montenegro must knock on the door to get inside when the country itself is miles ahead of the vast majority of EU countries in protecting freedom of religion and supporting minorities.
“We earnestly thank the President for all his hard work, in helping create and supporting the first synagogue in the country, in the example he sets for others to follow and for his humbling and deep convictions and care when it comes to protecting and nurturing this small but flourishing Jewish community.
My message to all EU Leaders is this: take note, act and share the light of Montenegro now before the darkness consumes us all.”

Additional Articles

IL SIMPOSIO A BABYN YAR: “ACCETTARE LE SFIDE DEL FUTURO SENZA DIMENTICARE LA MEMORIA DEL PASSATO”

Guardare al futuro, alla lotta all’antisemitismo, senza dimenticare la storia, specialmente la Shoah e i suoi massacri. La memoria può dunque diventare un punto di partenza per riflettere anche sul futuro e sul presente dell’ebraismo europeo. Queste le premesse con la quale è stato aperto il simposio, organizzato dall’European Jewish Association, dai partner del Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center e della Federazione delle Comunità Ebraiche dell'Ucraina, in occasione della Giornata della Memoria dedicata al massacro di Babyn Yar avvenuto a Kiev.

Tra il 29 e il 30 settembre del 1941, un reparto speciale Einsatzgruppe tedesco, assistito da due battaglioni del reggimento di polizia sud e polizia ausiliaria Ucraina, senza alcuna resistenza da parte della popolazione locale, uccisero all’interno del burrone Babi Yar, situato nel nord-ovest di Kiev, circa 33 771 ebrei. Il Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center è stato creato dal decreto del presidente ucraino Petro Poroshenko il 20 ottobre 2017. Con questo l'Ucraina proponeva un nuovo approccio alla conservazione della memoria storica di quei tragici eventi. "L'Ucraina è il quarto paese per numero che sono state annoverate tra coloro che furono “Giusti tra le nazioni”. Il parlamento ucraino ha recentemente adottato una legge per combattere e prevenire l'antisemitismo nel paese e per commemorare la Shoah. La memoria è l'unico modo per combattere l'antisemitismo – ha detto nel corso della conferenza il Presidente del parlamento ucraino, Ruslan Stefanchuk- Le atrocità sono avvenute spesso perché la gente è rimasta in silenzio a causa della paura, dell'indifferenza e dell'egoismo. Lo studio della Shoah oggi è di particolare importanza per il popolo ucraino.”

Una delegazione di circa cento ministri, parlamentari, senatori, ambasciatori e giornalisti di tutta Europa riuniti in Ucraina. Due giorni intensi di seminario volti ad analizzare l’emergenza dilagante del nuovo risveglio dell’antisemitismo. Un momento per riunirsi, confrontarsi e discutere, ma soprattutto per tentare di accogliere la sfida di combattere l'antisemitismo in atto in Europa. Non nascondersi, ma affrontare il passato con un rinnovato senso di pragmatismo, trovando strategie per fronteggiare l’odio antiebraico di oggi, in tutte le sue forme.

Babyn Yar: una vergognosa pagina della storia, per anni nascosta. Al termine del seminario la delegazione si è recata nel luogo dove furono trucidati milioni di innocenti per una visita al centro Babyn Yar seguita da una cerimonia.  Il memoriale, in seguito a moltissimi sforzi per commemorare le sue vittime, ha trovato la sua ubicazione, cinque anni fa nello stesso luogo dove avvenne la tragedia.

Ad intervenire, nel corso della serata, anche il Presidente del consiglio del Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center Natan Sharansky. Sharansky, nel suo videomessaggio, ha sottolineato come le autorità sovietiche abbiano tentato insabbiare l’accaduto cancellando ogni ricordo del massacro avvenuto in quel burrone. “Una commemorazione importante non solo per le vittime e per onorare la loro memoria- ha aggiunto Sharansky -ma anche per garantire che le lezioni della storia vengano apprese e ricordate nell’era in cui viviamo oggi”.

“Sono nato pochi anni dopo la Shoah, sono cresciuto in Ucraina tra i campi di sterminio, eppure non ne sapevamo nulla - spiega al pubblico Sharansky - Ecco perché oggi è così importante che il Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, che ho l'onore di presiedere, stia facendo grandi sforzi per trasformare questa “grande tomba della Shoah” in un grande museo con il suo centro di ricerca e studio.  Stiamo facendo tutto questo collaborando strettamente con il governo ucraino.”

https://www.shalom.it/blog/orizzonte-europa-bc251/il-simposio-a-babyn-yar-a-accettare-le-sfide-del-futuro-senza-dimenticare-la-memoria-del-passatoa-b1109801?fbclid=IwAR1g9_70Nyjy_rku4MgCIqlbM2bCewRz0XU2N9KhGFiZHvwhnQamV45wETY

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.
For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl
“This message comes from Wollongong, Australia where we have a small Jewish community.
I wanted to ask you if Hijman Jacobs (1843-1872) might be in your family line? His great-grandchild who was once a student at our local university (~ 1970) is told that his great-grandfather was a Rabbi in Amsterdam. ” Thus the email I received this morning from Wollongong-Australia.
Never heard of a Rabbi Jacobs from Amsterdam, but what is not may yet come. I do not mean that I have ambitions to become the rabbi of Amsterdam, but it could just be that I have discovered an ancestor whose existence I did not know. Maybe he was not a rabbi and was only called a rabbi because he was a teacher. I am certainly not a descendant in the direct line, but perhaps he was a cousin of my father and therefore a real Jacobs. And if it is even slightly correct, I should definitely share that with Claire as well. Claire, I hear you ask. Who is Claire?
Claire and I share the same great-grandparents Salomon Levie Jacobs and Froukje Jacobs-Leek, who both passed away about a hundred years ago. About ten years ago we stood together in the cemetery of the Jewish Community in Muiderberg. We look alike and according to my wife have the same facial features. I also think that we both have mixed feelings about Aletta Jacobs with whom we both have the same family relationship. Proud of her commitment to equal rights for women and the prevailing discrimination, but we both also have difficulty with certain parts of her struggle / life vision in the field of ethics.
Claire and I are both from the orthodox core of the Jewish community. My dear caring and overprotective father has always told me that there must be one more person alive from the Jacobs family. A great-niece named Claire, granddaughter of his Aunt Bella, his father's sister. My grandfather Jacobs had a sister and three brothers. All murdered with children, children by marriage and grandchildren. A cousin, Sampe, had survived the war but lost his wife and child in one of the camps. He was the only member of Jacobs's side at my parents' wedding in 1948. Sampe, my father told me, was deeply depressed and remarried a woman from Manchester. A girl is born who is named Claire. Sampe dies shortly after birth. Claire's mother remarries. With whom and where my father did not know. But I have not forgotten the name Claire.
About ten years ago I received a phone call from the Jewish Community of The Hague. A certain Claire is looking for her origins. She lives in Melbourne. I didn't have to think long, took the phone and talked to Claire, my grand-niece, the only still alive Jacobs. She wanted to know who her grandparents had been and also details about her father. Her mother had been married to him for only a short time and, in fact, knew very little about him. Because my father was on the verge of dementia at the time, I told Claire that if she wanted to hear more details from my father about her grandfather and grandmother, she should come now. And so I met Claire a week later. That feeling was very special. Even now, when I think back, tears come to my eyes. My grandfather and her grandmother were brother and sister. After she met my father, we went to Muiderberg together and stood before the graves of Salomon Levie Jacobs and Froukje Jacobs-Leek, our joint great-grandparents. Claire was raised by her mother and second father. But she was not told that her stepfather was not her real father. That stepfather never distinguished between Claire and the children born later. Mother and stepfather did not want to burden her with the real father who was no longer there.
Whether that was ethically correct or incorrect is no longer relevant. So her mother and stepfather had decided with the best of intentions in the world. Two weeks before her chuppah wedding, they told her husband-to-be that Claire's real father is no longer alive. He, the husband-to-be, wanted Claire to find out, too, but because of the potential emotional blow, they decided to wait until a week after the wedding. She heard it, absorbed it, processed it emotionally, but did nothing with it. She was just married, building a family, then children ... and then, ten years ago, when the children had left home and she and her husband had the wealth to themselves, she wanted to know: “Who were my grandparents and who was my father? ”
I was able to find someone who knew her father very well. We found the graves of her father's parents and we found each other. Actually, we are just distant relatives, two people who had never met each other before. But we are both descendants of the same great-grandparents, we live in their footsteps, are both known to be the only survivors of that large Jacobs family. We both thanked G-d for being allowed to stand there together in the cemetery of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam, because we realized that most of the graves in the Jewish cemeteries will never be visited by anyone, because there is no one left. And while I was close to closing my diary, I received an email invitation from Claire to the chuppah of one of her grandchildren on January 5th in Monroe New York.
And now that e-mail from Wollongong, Australia. Maybe another Jacobs will turn up after all: Hijman Jacobs. I'm waiting!

Terror Attack in Vienna, Austria

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”
― David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law
 
Everyone at the European Jewish Association sends our heartfelt condolences to the Austrian people at this most difficult time. We feel your pain.
 

Greetings for the Upcoming Rosh HaShanah by Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E. Mr. Charles Michel

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